CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – No. 15 Lehigh completed a dominant performance on its weekend trip to New England as the Mountain Hawks rolled past Harvard 40-6 Sunday at the Malkin Athletic Center. The Mountain Hawks won nine matches for the second straight day, and posted seven bonus wins. Senior Zach Rey won by major decision to become Lehigh’s career leader in dual meet victories.
Freshman Mason Beckman and senior Sean Bilodeau recorded falls for Lehigh, which improves to 11-5 on the season.
“Our guys wrestled hard and scored a lot of points all weekend which is what you have to do when you get close to the postseason,” said Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro. “Guys working for bonus points was big. They had some guys out. We knew that but our guys wrestled well. It’s good to see some guys back in lineup who were out for a while, we’re excited about that.”
The dual began at 125 where sophomore Alex Abreu picked up his first win of the season with a convincing 8-2 decision over Max Mejia. Abreu scored two first period takedowns and never looked back, adding a second period takedown plus an escape and riding time.
“Alex went out and attacked right away,” Santoro said. “He had been wearing guys out in previous matches but it was always too little, too late. Today he went right out and took it to Mejia. He did a really nice job.”
Beckman followed up with an upset win over 12th-ranked Steven Keith at 133. Late in the first period, Beckman initiated a shot and after a scramble, was able to get Keith’s shoulders to the mat, earning the fall while still in the neutral position at 2:54.
“Mason did a nice job attacking,” Santoro said. “He took three or four shots in the first period which was really good to see. Keith got in deep in the first five seconds but Mason countered that really well. It’s starting to come together for him.”
The Mountain Hawks lead grew with back-to-back major decisions from sophomore Steve Dutton at 141 and junior Shane Welsh at 149. Dutton handled Shay Warren 10-2, while Welsh narrowly missed a technical fall, downing Patrick Hogan 16-2. Welsh used an inside trip to work Hogan to his back late in the third period, but had to settle for five points when he was unable to secure the fall.
Harvard’s lone win came at 157 as Walter Peppelman pinned senior Brian Tanen at 4:54. The Crimson fell to 5-9 with the setback.
Massachusetts native Sean Bilodeau followed Peppelman’s pin with a fall of his own, as he built a 7-0 lead in the second period before pinning Ian Roy at 4:40.
At 174 freshman Nate Brown opened up a 10-0 lead after two periods en route to a 12-2 major decision over Josh Popple, which gave the Mountain Hawks a 27-6 advantage.
Junior Robert Hamlin was challenged in his match with Cameron Croy but prevailed by a 13-7 score. Hamlin gave up the first takedown, but answered with the next four takedowns. He was gunning for a major decision before Croy secured a second takedown in the third period to avoid the major decision.
Senior Joe Kennedy needed just 27 seconds to pin Bryan Panzano at 197, while in the final bout of the dual, Rey earned career dual win No. 71 with a 12-3 major decision over David Ng at heavyweight. Rey racked up five takedowns in the match for his 109th career win. Rey’s 71 dual meet wins move him past Jon Trenge ’05 for the Lehigh career record.
“He’s been really consistent for us,” said Santoro about Rey. “He’s solid in all three positions. He’s the returning national champion and he’s hungry. He wants to get back on top. He’s doing all the right things and we’re excited to see him in the postseason.”
The Mountain Hawks will wrap-up the regular season Saturday night when they host Princeton at 7 p.m. inside Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall. Tickets can be purchased by calling 610-7LU-GAME or by visiting Lehighsports.com.
Lehigh 40, Harvard 6
125 – Alex Abreu (Lehigh) dec. Max Mejia (Harvard) 8-2
133 – Mason Beckman (Lehigh) Fall Steven Keith (Harvard) 2:54
141 – Steve Dutton (Lehigh) major dec. Shay Warren (Harvard) 10-2
149 – Shane Welsh (Lehigh) major dec. Patrick Hogan (Harvard) 16-2
157 – Walter Peppelman (Harvard) Fall Brian Tanen (Lehigh) 4:54
165 – Sean Bilodeau (Lehigh) Fall Ian Roy (Harvard) 4:40
174 – Nate Brown (Lehigh) major dec. Josh Popple (Harvard) 12-2
184 – Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) dec. Cameron Croy (Harvard) 13-7
197 – Joe Kennedy (Lehigh) Fall Bryan Panzano (Harvard) 0:23
285 – Zach Rey (Lehigh) major dec. David Ng (Harvars) 12-3
Check back Monday morning for the Lehigh-Harvard post-match video.